Columbus City Schools will require students, staff and visitors to wear masks in school and on buses as part of its updated COVID-19 mitigation strategies, according to a news release. These requirements are based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and in consultation with Columbus Public Health, according to a news release.
“Safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall is a priority and masks provide an extra layer of protection in reducing transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” Columbus City Schools superintendent and CEO Talisa Dixon, said in the release. “Throughout this pandemic, we have relied on the guidance of our public health officials. We feel that this is the best decision for our district and community.”
Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts added, “the pandemic is not over and case numbers are rising again because of the Delta variant and low vaccination rates in our community. Kids need to be in the classroom where they can learn and thrive and masks are an important tool for protecting staff and students who are too young to get vaccinated.”
According to the release, sports activities, practices and extracurricular activities, including the marching band and drill team, will resume in accordance with all health and safety guidelines.
Dixon said that the school system had a role to play in ending the pandemic. “I am excited to welcome our nearly 50,000 students back to the classroom. I encourage everyone in our community who is able to get vaccinated to do so as soon as possible. We all play a role in ending this pandemic. Increased vaccination rates will better protect our students, staff, and the community as we return to in-person learning.”
The district will adhere to the following health and safety guidelines:
• Masks required for all students on buses and in school buildings with or without vaccination;
• Masks required for all staff in school buildings and administrative sites with or without vaccination;
• Three feet social distancing between students where practical;
• Water fountains will not be used;
• School visitors will be restricted to parents and guardians and the district’s student support partners and visitors will be required to wear masks.
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Sammi Fremont is the Clifford and Linda Wolf Editorial Intern.